I live eight houses down the sidewalk from my grandparents who are in their 70s. In the opposite direction, eight houses down, are my baby cousins.

Due to COVID-19, our family has not had a Sunday night family dinner in over a month. I have not been able to play with my cousins, I have not been able to sit and watch a movie with my grandma nor have I been able to have lunch with my grandpa every Wednesday.

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has taken away many things for every person. Whether it is senior year, internships, family time, lunches, friends, workout classes, experiences or simply the day-to-day routine of life, COVID-19 has done nothing but take and disrupt our lives.

In order to get back to “normal”, whatever that may be from now on, we must take the proper precautions to protect ourselves and those around us.

Along with the shelter-in-place order, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that everyone wears masks, gloves and sanitizes all items like groceries and mail.

Masks:

It is imperative for people to wear masks to help protect themselves, their loved ones and strangers.

“CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission,” reads the CDC website.

COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets that enter the human body through eyes, mouth or touching of the face. To help eliminate the risk of that virus entering the body, wearing a mask just seems obvious.

Gloves:

Wearing gloves also seems obvious when you think about it.

Germs are spread through touching. For example, when students are on campus, a significant number of students come down with the same cold or illness, because we all study, eat, listen to lectures and interact in the same areas.

An article published by USA Today noted it is not crucial for people to wear gloves if they practice good hand hygiene and do not touch their face. I don’t know about you, but I find myself touching my face more frequently than I would like. It doesn't matter how good my hand hygiene is, it only takes once.

The CDC does recommend people wear gloves, however, if they are taking care of those with the virus.

“The CDC recommends that caregivers of COVID-19 patients wear disposable gloves when handling the patients' personal items,” reads a USA Today article. “Wash your hands immediately after removing and disposing the gloves. This process should be repeated after every use.”

Maybe it is just the germ freak in me, but I would wear gloves going out to protect myself and others.

I don’t know if the 60-year-old woman, who I am standing 6 feet away from for her protection, has COVID-19 and is touching all the strawberry containers before finally picking the one she wants. I would rather not take the chance and just wear gloves.

Sanitizing:

This could be another level of my germ-freak nature coming out, but wiping down surfaces, groceries and mail seems natural during a pandemic as contagious as COVID-19.

Sanitizing every item you bring into your home helps stop the spread of the virus and can therefore prevent you from getting it.

For younger people all these personal protection methods can seem extreme, but I think this virus can be stopped with young people if they choose to take the proper precautions.

I want this pandemic to end so I can return to “normal.” I miss my friends. I miss my spin classes. I miss being in school. I miss human interaction. More importantly, I miss being able to have Sunday night family dinners, I miss playing with my cousins, I miss movie night with my grandma and lunch with my grandpa. I miss being able to hug those who mean the most to me.

Let’s practice what doctors are preaching. Wear masks. Who cares if you look silly? We all do.

Wear gloves. When else are you going to be able to wear gloves in a grocery store?

Sanitize your items, protect yourself.

Let’s go back to “normal,” because I miss it.

Hannah Hislop is a staff writer. Follow her on Twitter: @hannahvhislop. 

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